February 26, 2014

{Homecoming & Gender Reveal} Ashleigh & Billy

Today's homecoming by Christina Z Photography, a photographer in Camp Lejeune, NC is a very special homecoming for a few reasons! Christina is originally from Bradenton, FL, and loves to do photo sessions when she goes to visit. In fact, she will be available for more Florida sessions since they are moving back to Florida this year. I hope you are comfortable and have time to read this post since it's gonna be a long one.....This post is about deployments, infertility, and yes an exciting gender reveal (if you sneaked down already and saw the photos). I myself was honored to share this post since my husband and I are beginning the adventure of baby making (which is really weird to be telling everyone about our private business). For some it's not something that just happens like a switch of a light. It's really stressful if you don't get pregnant right away, the pressure doesn't help either, and some have the terrible experience of miscarriages. If you want a little more of my story, I'm 34 and I've been married for 3 1/2 years, we've never had kids and we are now starting, so instead of just waiting for it to happen I'm taking initiative and getting doctors to help us. So it could be months from now, it could be years, or never, but fingers crossed I will be able to announce our pregnancy :)

Enough about me here is Ashleigh's story! Christina is best friends with Ashleigh so it was very exciting for her to capture these photos. Ashleigh's husband returned from a long and emotional deployment in Afghanistan. They were dealing with infertility for some time. Ashleigh wants to share her very honest story to bring awareness to others about the hard times one faces during the infertility journey. It just so happens that her story has a happy ending, but she wanted to speak out for those that are still dealing with it. There was a bit of added excitement at this homecoming, to top it all off, Ashleigh decided to do a gender reveal to her husband at the homecoming. So after the initial welcome home smooches, she had a big black bag of balloons for him to release to reveal the gender. Christina was able to capture his reaction to having a GIRL!

(to read more about this story make sure you click on the link)

For the first 7 years of our relationship we tried our hardest to prevent pregnancy, and for the past 2 we have done things many wouldn't dream of having to go through to conceive. 1 in 8 couples suffer infertility. These past 2 years have provided real lessons to the way in which we live our lives and our speech. I hope that our story provides you a different set of glasses to help you look at life much differently, if you will. I hope what you take besides shock from our story, is the ability find the joy in your life experiences, even if that experience seems more negative than positive. Our unfortunate events in this journey have provided many things, but the most revealing has been humility and the ability to laugh even when we want to cry.

If my husband hasn't left me yet, it’s pretty unlikely he never will. I’d like to think for the past 2 years I haven’t really been myself. This idea was confirmed when after a year of trying to conceive, we finally revealed to our family what we were up against. It was in this moment my family confirmed my suspicions, I was so moody and they couldn't understand what my malfunction was. Fertility drugs were my malfunction. Then add in the emotions and side-effects that come along with infertility and its crew of drugs, and I was a "20 car pile-up". My life consisted of calendars, peeing on sticks, taking medications, some of which came in the form of shots to give myself, and avoiding ignorant people. People wondered why I didn't have a job, my answer for you now, infertility is a job. It consumes your entire life! In one week, I put 800 miles on my car driving to doctors to be poked and prodded by every tool imaginable, by strangers who have the title doctor. When we tell people what our malfunction was during the conceiving process, they feel sorry for my husband. I’m sure it’s a hard pill to swallow that your swimmers don’t move, but he has pretty much skated through this entire process without tools shoved up his privates by strangers. Here’s a funny story, yes I am able to laugh and so is he. The most medically invasive part of his process in this came from him having to make love to a cup. Big deal! But to him, this was a HUGE deal!  As he was having his first moment making love to a cup the only thing I could do is laugh hysterically, internally, while I waited for him in the car. Ever hear that Usher song, “I want to make love in this club?” I finagled it a bit, “I want to make love in this cup!” I laughed myself stupid. When you enter into a relationship, I’m sure the possibility of these real life moments never cross your mind. I never in our 9 years imagined we were the 1 in 8 couples who are faced with infertility. But here we are!

34 pregnancy tests, 100′s of ovulation tests, 2 sperm analysis, 5-6 cycles of fertility medications,  1 round of IUI, 6 vials of frozen sperm, 1 round of IVF with injectable medications, 1 HSG,  2 transferred embryos, thousands of miles traveled, $13,000 out of pocket medical costs, and we are pregnant! Oh what fun it is to ride, the crazy infertility journey!

"Why don’t you have children yet?” I hope you realize the question you ask, you may be asking to a couple who is now fighting the urge to cry while they answer your ridiculous question. And should this couple eventually reveal they may be suffering from infertility, please refrain yourself from making pointless statements. If I heard, “just relax it will happen” one more time, I think I would have voluntarily checked myself into a mental facility. No part of relaxation would have given my husband’s swimmers a boost. So please refrain from saying useless things. For those inquisitive minds who wondered how it was possible for me to get pregnant in October even though my husband deployed in July, your assumptions were right. I cheated on him, with a needle shoved up me, by a stranger called a doctor. 

Wow, so now that you've heard Ashleigh's candid story you can now see her happy homecoming and gender reveal. Thank you Ashleigh for sharing your story and Christina for these photos. Please be more careful when asking couples why they don't have children yet and also feel free to share this post with anyone you know going through this situation.

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